In order to understand how certain personality traits influence the relation between depression symptoms and craving for alcohol, trait self-consciousness (trait SC) was examined during a withdrawal and detoxification program.
Craving (Obsessive and Compulsive Drinking Scale), depressive state (Beck Depression Inventory) and trait SC (Revised Self-Consciousness Scale) were assessed in alcohol-dependent inpatients (DSM-IV, N = 30) both at the beginning (T1: day 1 or 2) and at the end (T2: day 14 to18) of protracted withdrawal during rehabilitation.
A significant decrease in craving and depressive symptoms was observed from T1 to T2, while SC scores remained stable. At both times, strong positive correlations were observed between craving and depression. Moreover, regression analyses indicated that trait SC significantly moderated the impact of depression on cravings for alcohol.
This study was performed on a relatively small sample size. Administration of medications during detoxification treatment can also be a confounding factor. Finally, craving could have been evaluated through other types of measurements.
During protracted withdrawal, alcohol craving decreased with the same magnitude as depressive mood. Depressive symptoms were related to alcohol craving but only among patients with high trait SC scores. Our results suggest that metacognitive approaches targeting SC could decrease craving and, in turn, prevent future relapses.
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